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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 December 2005, 22:42 GMT
Russia marks Stalin anniversary
A Georgian man holds a poster of Stalin in the former dictator's home town of Gori
Stalin is still revered in parts of the former Soviet Union
A new statue of Joseph Stalin has been unveiled in the southern Russian town of Digora to mark the 126th anniversary of the Soviet-era dictator's birth.

In Moscow, Russian Communist Party supporters braved wintry weather to visit Stalin's grave in Red Square.

And commemorations were held in Stalin's birthplace, Gori in Georgia.

A number of monuments to the former leader have been erected in Russian towns in recent years, drawing protests from human rights activists.

More than three dozen residents of the North Ossetian town of Digora turned out for the unveiling of the 5m (16ft) bust of Stalin, which sits on a granite obelisk.

Russian Communist Party supporters visit Stalin's grave in Red Square
Stalin's remains are buried at the foot of the Kremlin wall in Moscow

Many carried the Soviet flag with its hammer and sickle, and children wore Soviet-style red kerchiefs and saluted, news agencies reported.

"Under Stalin, every year we waited for improvements and every year there were improvements. It's a fact," the sculptor, Mikhail Dzboyev, said.

But human rights activists criticised them for honouring someone who "stands for tyranny, dictatorship and bloodshed".

"The decision to erect a monument in North Ossetia shows that the country has not drawn lessons from history," human rights activist Alexander Bord was quoted by Russia's Interfax news agency as saying.

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Stalin still revered in Georgia
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Timeline: Soviet Union
02 Jul 04 |  Country profiles



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